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Four Seasons Sydney: Five-star opulence in the heart of the city

The Four Seasons Sydney offers some of the city’s most dazzling water views. But where the exclusive property really shines is in its highly personalised offerings, says Cathy Wagstaff.

Traveller: Cathy Wagstaff
Room: Full Harbour Club Room
Address: 199 George Street, The Rocks NSW 2000
Date: July 2022
Price range from $347
Best for the business traveller for its vicinity to the CBD. Or the tourist who wants to wake up to the most iconic view in Sydney.

Four Seasons Hotel Sydney iconic view

Location

It’s an outlook you could get seriously used to at the Four Seasons Sydney, sitting pretty just steps from the city’s Circular Quay. The location doesn’t get any better than this. In the heart of Sydney’s CBD, next to historic The Rocks district, Four Seasons Sydney provides the perfect home base for exploring Australia’s largest, and arguably, most exciting city.

Within a short walk, you can find…

All the attractions of central Sydney. Within minutes you’ll find the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney Aquarium and Sydney Tower. Royal Botanical Gardens and Sydney Opera House are nearby, as are the vibrant streets of The Rocks. While Bondi Beach is only a 20-minute drive or Manly Beach a 20-minute journey via ferry.

Claim to fame

Luxury for all seasons. Four Seasons is renowned for its five-star details, and in Sydney, you have it all – the views, the stylish suites and sleek service – across its 531 well-appointed rooms. The experience is pure elegance from the minute of arrival in the grand multi-tiered foyer with its sweeping staircase, to its heated outdoor pool (one of the largest in Sydney) or fine dining at Mode Kitchen & Bar.

The views, the stylish suites and sleek service of Four Seasons Sydney

The showstopper

The view. Floor-to-ceiling windows wrap the building, revealing an outlook of cobbled laneways and yachts, the latter coming and going in the wake of ferries and the occasional dolphin. At dusk, ‘magic hour’ casts a bruised glow of blushing pinks and purples over the Sydney skyline. This is one of the most memorable harbours in the world, and rooms and suites at the Four Seasons don’t shy away from making the most of the eye candy.

The room

I stayed in the beautiful Four Seasons Full Harbour Club Room. Modern and remodelled, this corner suite has incredible views of the Harbour and a calm feel with nautical touches in its light blue hues, textiles and hints of wood. A signature king-sized bed is dressed in crisp white 300-count linen and soft down pillows. Floor-to-ceiling windows bring in the light, with a window seat ideal for gazing at the stunning skyline. The classic marble and dark walnut bathroom has a deep soaking bathtub and separate shower, plush fluffy robes, and Christian Lacroix bath products. On the tech side, a 42-inch LCD TV, portable BOSE speaker, iPad docking station and Premium WiFi comes in all rooms and suites. As does a private bar and Nespresso machine. Daily newspaper and a late check out at midday also come as standard.

Amenity game

Christian Lacroix’s luxurious bath products complete a deluxe hotel experience with its monochrome packing with products spiced with wood and musk, sage, rosemary and ginger inspired from the markets in the South of France. Twice-daily housekeeping and turndown service (upon request) and 24-hour laundry service ensure your room is always in order.

Incredible Harbour views and nautical touches in its light blue hues and hints of wood

Beyond the rooms

There are a few reasons to leave your room or suite. But if you must drag yourself away, make the reason a day spent with Executive Chef Francesco Mannelli. Francesco not only oversees on-site restaurant Mode Kitchen & Bar – striking the perfect balance between casual bistro and fine dining – but also offers guests a first-hand deep dive into Sydney’s flavours. This means you can follow him to the Sydney Fish Market – the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere – to pick up rock oysters, crayfish and crabs that will later be transformed into a feast of epic proportions at Mode Kitchen & Bar.

Dish to dine for

Mode Kitchen & Bar is a sleek space that draws diners with its seasonal menu. Which might include dishes like scallop Crudo with ponzu dressing, seaweed and finger lime; acquerello risotto with aged Parmigiano and a generous shaving of black truffle; and a dry-aged T-bone steak with zingy horseradish cream. All created under the watchful eye of Italian born Chef Mannelli, who recently won a coveted Chef Hat from the Australian Good Food Guide for the third year.

Sommelier Claudio Solimeo is equally zealous about the restaurant’s wine menu – 70 per cent of which hails from Australia – and spends time with guests sharing tastings and advice on wines that best suit your taste and meal.

But the stand out is dessert, which is a thing of beauty. So much so that it graces the cover of Signature Luxury Travel & Style print edition 42. The signature pavlova served on a bed of dry ice has been created by award-winning pastry sous chef Quentin Zerr. Zerr is available for one-on-one pastry cooking classes if you like what you taste. To view the magazine, click here.

4S Sydney Mode

Staying in

From the heated triangular outdoor pool and 24-hour fitness centre to craft cocktails at Grain Bar or in the executive club lounge on level 32, there is plenty of space to enjoy all of Four Season’s hospitality charms. Lounge 32, a residential club, is reserved for guests staying in premium suites. Yet you can meet friends, family or colleagues here. It offers excellent views and is very peaceful to work in, with meeting spaces available to book. With a dedicated concierge, daily breakfast from the open kitchen and all-day refreshments before gourmet canapés from 4pm. Complete with an open bar stocked with premium spirits and sommelier-selected Australian and international wines. A complementary pressing and shoeshine service only adds to the impeccable details.

Lounge 32 Four Season Sydney

Spa life

An on-site Endota Spa with six treatment rooms offer a range of all-Australian treatments, from blissful massages to organic body scrubs to mani/pedis and warm stone massage. Your treatment includes access to a private sauna and steam rooms, and entry to the hotel’s outdoor pool and a whirlpool if you’re not an overnight hotel guest.

Stepping out

The multilingual Concierge Team are happy to make all manner of arrangements, from booking theatre shows to making arrangements for tourist attractions. And even car rentals, from sports cars to private limousines. Valet parking is also available with covered parking.

Insiders’ tips

After a digestif? The team at Grain, the cocktail bar in the hotel’s lobby, has created a custom cocktail trolley that can be delivered to your room. This means that you can order a negroni or dry martini at the touch of a button, stirred and/or shaken, while you look on. Or talk to mixologists about what best suits your palate. Grain is known for its barrel-aged cocktails using elements of grain in every drink they create. With many that look like a piece of art and are almost too pretty to sip.

 

Four Seasons Sydney bar

The family factor

One- and two-bedroom suites and no additional fee for children 18 years and younger occupying the same guest room make staying at the Four Seasons Sydney very family friendly. Babysitting, child-size bathrobes, children’s food menus and even items to childproof your space are available. Plus, the Concierge can help personalise family activities, from picnics at the nearby Royal Botanic Gardens to trips to Taronga Zoo and Sydney Aquarium.

Before booking…

Download the free Four Seasons App to check in before arrival and ask for any preferences during your stay. You can use Chat as a fast way to communicate with the in-house team for housekeeping, a restaurant reservation, or even to order room service. Also check offers from free night stays to 20% off room rates. If you want to know how royalty and celebrities sleep, check in to the Presidential Suite. Where your meals come to you with a private dining experience with the hotel’s chef. With the Four Seasons sommelier on hand to match wines, naturally.

I wish I could take home…

The in-room drinks trolley. The most extraordinary experience was the drink cart coming to my room and making me the stunning “In Like Flynn” cocktail. It was sensational, made with Widgets gin, Amaro Montenegro, Eucalyptus, and Lemon, and topped with an edible Koala. My bartender, Adam, told me how everything in the bar is fresh – they have a person come in daily to just squeeze limes and lemons for cocktails. So fresh, so Four Seasons!

Signature expert rating

9 out of 10 – Outstanding luxury and service you’ve come to expect from Four Seasons. The stunning room, those views and a cocktail service straight to your suite. Four Seasons is known for its grandeur and attention to detail, and its Sydney hotel doesn’t disappoint.

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